After a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon last month, Barack Obama announced his support for the “Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms” treaty, also known by its Spanish acronym CIFTA. The gun-control treaty was signed in 1997 by former President Bill Clinton, but was not ratified by the Senate as required by the Constitution.
President Barack Obama scored major political points for the successful rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from his Somali pirate captors. Media headlines hailed his “decisive leadership” in his baptism under fire. However, scuttlebutt from the Navy community claims that the rescue succeeded in spite of Obama’s indecisiveness and interference, not because of his leadership. A harsh critique of the standoff by an anonymous Navy veteran that is circulating widely claims that Team Obama attempted to micromanage the situation, overruling the on-scene commander (OSC) and imposing ridiculous Rules Of Engagement (ROE) that repeatedly prevented the Navy SEAL shooters from taking out the pirates.
Speaking to reporters while standing alongside Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City on April 16, President Barack Obama said he would push the U.S. Senate to ratify a treaty called the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials. The convention, known by Spanish acronym CIFTA, was by inter-American countries including the United States in 1997 and then submitted the following year to the U.S. Senate for ratification. Like all treaties, it would require a two-thirds majority (67 votes) in the upper house to secure ratification.
Is there another alternative to paying tribute to Somali pirates, other than sending a huge naval expedition force to route the pirates out of their lairs? Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) believes the Constitution’s long-neglected “marque and reprisal” provision may offer a viable option. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states: “The Congress shall have power … To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas,… To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.”
The White House announced on April 13 that the Obama administration will ease U.S. restrictions on dealings with Cuba, including allowing unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba. The news had been leaked earlier in the day by a senior administration official, who told news agencies such as the Associated Press and AFP on condition of anonymity, "Restrictions on the families will be lifted." A formal announcement was made at the White House in the afternoon, during presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs' daily briefing with reporters.
The Commentary magazine website has posted an interesting article from its March issue authored by John Bolton, who served as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations during 2005-2006. The article reviews a report published in September 2008 entitled, A Plan for Action, which carries the subtitle, “A New Era of International Cooperation for a Changed World: 2009, 2010, and Beyond.” The thesis of the report can be pretty much summed up by a sentence from its Executive Summary: “International cooperation today must be built on the principle of responsible sovereignty, or the notion that sovereignty entails obligations and duties toward other states as well as to one’s own citizens.”
President Barack Obama ended his European jaunt with a message to Muslims everywhere: the United States is not at war with Islam. Fortifying that statement, the president, whose father and stepfather were Muslims, proclaimed that the European Union must admit Turkey as a member, which would be an absolute calamity for Europe — or what remains of it.
NATO celebrated its 60th anniversary during its April 3-4 summit in Strasbourg/Kehl, and President Barack Obama was one of the celebrants. Speaking in Strasbourg, France, on April 3, the new president affirmed U.S. support for the military alliance and for the concept of collective security that undergirds it and ties the fate of our own nation to that of all other NATO members.
President Barack Obama called for a "world without nuclear weapons" when he spoke in Prague on April 5. But nations obviously will not disarm in a vacuum. And so he also called for a “stronger, global regime” that would fill the vacuum and ensure that all nations follow the rules.
During last year's presidential campaign, Republican candidate John McCain turned heads when he stated: "We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new global compact — a League of Democracies — that can harness the vast influence of the more than one hundred democratic nations around the world to advance our values and defend our shared interests."